Washington DC – PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Good afternoon. (clears his throat.) Excuse me. I am pleased to report that we will have hit the 300 million arm-shots mark in just 150 days. I repeat: 300 million shots in less than 150 days.
This is an important step that did not happen on its own or by chance. It took the ingenuity of American scientists, the full capacity of American companies, and a whole-of-government response through federal, state, tribal, and local governments.
Together, we built an unprecedented immunization program and handled one of the largest and most complicated logistical challenges in American history.
And most importantly, we got here thanks to the American people coming together and getting vaccinated – helping family, friends, neighbors get vaccinated.
Just remember what the situation looked like 150 days ago. We didn’t have enough vaccines for all Americans. We did not have the vaccine infrastructure or the people to administer the vaccines or the places where people could get vaccinated. But we turned the tide together by acting quickly, aggressively and fairly.
We have ensured an adequate supply of vaccines for every American. And as I announced last week during my visit to Europe, we are now able to deliver more than half a billion doses of vaccine to the rest of the world – the 100 poorest nations.
We have developed and deployed more than 9,000 federal personnel, including 5,100 active duty military personnel, to support the vaccination effort and obtain gunfire. And now we have over 81,000 vaccination sites across the country, including over 42,000 local pharmacies.
Thanks to this wartime response, we received 300 million gunshots in the arms of Americans in 150 days, months before most people thought was possible when we first started.
In fact, if you remember, a lot of people were skeptical that we might even have 100 million hits on people’s arms in my first 100 days. But we did. We continued. And what we are seeing is a true American achievement.
Sixty-five percent – sixty-five percent – of American adults have received at least one injection, eighty-seven percent of our seniors.
Just five months ago, we were only 5% of American adults. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have now achieved at least 70% vaccination rates in their state. Twenty-six states and DC have fully vaccinated – (clears throat) – excuse me – 50 percent or more of adults.
Nationally, we have the lowest number of daily deaths since the early days of the pandemic.
And we’ve made equity a core part of our immunization program from day one. Seventy-three percent of injections given at community health centers through the federal program and more than fifty-eight percent of injections given by federally administered vaccination sites went to people of color. And across the country, people of color have accounted for more than half of all vaccinations in the past month. This is important progress, but we have a lot more to do.
Vice President Harris is, as I speak, in Atlanta, publicizing vaccinations.
Yesterday I signed a bill – (clears his throat) – excuse me – into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
And this weekend, people in communities across the country will be soliciting and hosting events to encourage their families, friends and neighbors to get vaccinated. The more we close the racial gap in immunization rates, the more lives we will save.
And as our immunization program says – saving tens of thousands of lives, with that number increasing every day, it also allows millions of Americans to start living their lives again. Grandparents hug their children. The children go back to school and get ready for summer. People go to restaurants and travel. The shops are reopening.
Folks, we are heading for a very different summer than last year. A bright summer. In prayer, a summer of joy.
But as I promised you from the start, I’ll always give it straight to you: the good, the bad, and the truth. And the truth is, deaths and hospitalizations are drastically reduced in places where people get vaccinated. But unfortunately cases and hospitalizations are not going down
in many places in states with low vaccination rates. In fact, they go up in some places.
A few days ago, we came across 600,000 to 600,000 Americans dead from COVID, more than all deaths from WWI, WWII, Vietnam and 9/11 combined. So while we are making incredible progress, it remains a serious and deadly threat.
And the data is clear: If you’re not vaccinated, you could get seriously ill, die, or spread it. People who become seriously ill and are hospitalized due to COVID-19 are those who have not been fully immunized. The new variant will make unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than a month ago – over a month ago.
This is a serious concern, especially because of what experts call the vir- “Delta” – the “Delta” variant. It is a variant that is more easily transmitted, potentially more deadly, and particularly dangerous for young people.
But the good news is, we have the solution. The science and the data are clear: the best way to protect yourself against these variants is to get the full vaccine.
So please, please, if you have one injection, give yourself the second one as soon as you can so that you are fully immunized. And if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, get vaccinated now. Now. Don’t put it back. It’s free. It’s easy. It is convenient.
And as I have said on several occasions, text your zip code to the numbers 438829 – 438829 – to find the sites where you can get the vaccine closest to you. Get your free Uber or Lyft ride to and from vaccination sites. I want to thank Uber and Lyft for their cooperation.
Use extended hours at thousands of drugstores in June, including thousands that are open 24/7 on Friday of that month. Most pharmacies now offer walk-in vaccines. No appointment is necessary.
Employers with less than 500 employees: The federal government offers you a tax credit to give your workers paid time off to get vaccinated and recover if they need it.
And for anyone who still has questions, it’s okay if you still have questions. But act, act now. Act now. Talk to your family and friends who have been vaccinated. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
According to the American Medical Association, more than 90 percent of physicians are fully immunized. They choose to protect themselves, their communities and their patients. Follow their lead and take your pick.
Like I said, we’re heading towards, God willing, the summer of joy, a summer of freedom. On July 4th we will celebrate our independence from the virus as we celebrate our independence from our nation. We want everyone – everyone to be able to do it.
Remember, we are the United States of America. Let’s make it happen – all of us, together.
God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you.
Q Could the Delta variant force us back to lockdown?
THE CHAIRMAN: I don’t think so because so many people have already been vaccinated, but the Delta variant can lead to the death of more people in areas where people have not been vaccinated. Where people have had both injections, the Delta variant is very unlikely to result in anything other than – I mean, because – the existing vaccines are very effective.
So, no, it’s not containment, but some areas will be badly affected.
Q Sir, a comment on (inaudible) what the Catholic bishops did? Are you concerned about this rupture within the Catholic Church? And are you concerned about this action?
THE CHAIRMAN: Repeat.
Q Catholic bishops are advancing this resolution that would prevent you and others who have supported abortion from going to Communion. Are you concerned about the divide in the Catholic Church? And what do you think personally?
PRESIDENT. – This is a private matter, and I don’t think it will happen. Thank you.
Q Mr. Speaker, have you seen the infrastructure plan on Capitol Hill – the bipartisan plan? Do you have a reaction to this?
PRESIDENT. – I’ll tell you on Monday when I get a copy.
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